[fosscomm] email format (was

Kenneth Gonsalves lawgon at au-kbc.org
Wed Jul 15 20:19:28 PDT 2009

On Wednesday 15 Jul 2009 3:42:57 pm Guru गुरु wrote:
> It has not been so agreed.
> In fact the first time you gave this suggestion to a posting of VidA,
> she responded saying she did not agree. I quote that conversation below:

here we go again. The mail, and the thread is archived, so why do you not 
point to the link so that interested people can read the mails in context. 
This is the mail in question:


and reading it you will find that what VidA was objecting to was my tone. She 
has not said anything about whether what she did was right or not. That 
contribution was a top post from Sunil - and since it was a top post he 
managed to change the subject from my behaviour (which I agree was a trifle 
offensive) to endorsing a view that was not expressed by VidA. And then you 
endorsed Sunil's support for a view that was not expressed in the first place. 
Which is always happening in the chaotic disorganised world of Microsoft 

The best source of anything is the original - so provide a link to the 
original. And give an opinion why you think it is important or relevant. Then 
the discussion can be about the original. Of course, this is not easy. Easiest 
thing is to dump the original and forget about it.

> I am sure there are good reasons for 'posting format' rules like top
> line posting, news along with link, snip etc etc. for more efficient
> communication etc.

yes, there are good reasons. We call it SNR. Signal to Noise Ratio. The idea 
being that mailing lists should be efficient. They should fulfil their purpose 
with the minimum of annoyance to members. That is high signal, low noise. Of 
course this requires application of mind, hard work. It is not the easy way. 

I am very surprised at your statement that you are 'sure there are good 
reasons ... for rules'. There are rules for everything under the sun - and 
usually with good reasons for them. When entering a new domain or a new 
community it is a good idea to look up the rules governing them. In our 
country, unfortunately, rules are something for 'other people'.

Most people who drive today are ignorant of road rules - and a huge number of 
them are ignorant of the fact that there *are* road rules. This is mainly 
because they are not educated about rules as they get their licenses by other 

Since you are sure that there are good reasons for these rules, I request you 
to take the trouble to find out what those reasons are rather than reject the 
rules because you do not feel like following them. You are not a newbie to 
this list, and you would have noticed that the majority of us follow basic 
rules like interleaved posting - I suggest you join us in this and set an 
example for new members.

> However these are not universal rules that govern
> mailing lists.

they are a set of practices evolved over the last 20 years for the purpose of 
effective use of mailing lists. And they *are* universal rules that govern 
*effective* mailing lists.

> Since one basic purpose of setting up FOSSCOMM is to extend the support
> for FOSS to other groups, including people and organizations not
> necessarily tech-savvy, I would propose that we be extremely relaxed on
> emails - both in terms of actual format etc (I find it convenient to
> have the information with the link so that I need not click on the link
> and I favor posting over top of the mail that I am responding to) as
> well as the substance of the mail (so long as it connects to FOSS). This
> will help in getting more participation from new comers to the group and
> the list and expanding/strengthening FOSSCOMM. I know I have said the
> same thing many times earlier and apologise for the repetition.

I agree with this for new people and people from the non-foss world. But not 
for more experienced people who are taking a leading role and making the 
majority of posts
> Hence I request our more disciplined friends to put up with the 'lax'
> methods of some of us in the interests of inclusion and try to avoid
> suggesting formal posting rules etc.

I do not see what is wrong in educating people on better ways of doing things. 
After all this group presumes to educate the government, universities and 
public bodies on better ways of doing things so why not educate ourselves? I 
do agree that we can be more polite in this respect, and I am working on it - 
after all if Raju can, why not me?

Kenneth Gonsalves

More information about the network mailing list